Sep 10, 2012, 10:09 AM
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) The Gambia, a principal recipient of the Global Fund Malaria Grant (GFMG), on Tuesday presented over 20,000 long lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLINs) to 25 institutions across the country.
The nets were presented at a ceremony held at the warehouse of the Catholic Relief Services behind Julbrew in Kanifing.
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Fatim Badjie, said malaria is one of the most formidable public health problems that confront Gambians.
Ms Badjie said the health sector has also undergone corresponding transformation to meet the challenge, noting that government has accorded high priority to malaria and other diseases of public health.
“Since the launching of Operation Eradicate Malaria and the subsequent implementation of Indoor Residual Spraying, the fight against malaria has been relentless and sustained,” Minister Badjie said.
She also recognised the significant support and contribution of her Ministry’s partners, notably the WHO, the UNDP, CRS, the NGO communities and Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria.
“Your contributions have been very vital indeed, and on behalf of the Gambia Government and her people, I thank you all profoundly and count on your continued support in implementing Government’s efforts in its drive for a healthy population,” the health minister said.
With the continued and added support by all other development partners and collaborators, Minister Badjie added, she is confident that by the year 2015 they will reach and even possibly surpass all their pre-elimination and controlled targets for all diseases including malaria.
According to Minister Badjie, the fight against malaria cannot be won by working in isolation as members of the specific organisations or by working as members of a loose amalgamation.
She added that people most work together as members of a cohesive and concerted force to be able to put a stop to the challenges it offers and mobilize collective action in support of malaria.
She urged the beneficiaries to make the best out of the nets by actually sleeping under them, noting that the nets have been proven to be useful to prevent contact with mosquitoes that transmit malaria parasites.
The health minister added that the re-distribution campaign offers an opportunity for every family to sleep under the comfort and full protection of a treated net.
For his part, the officer-in-charge of CRS office in The Gambia, Ebrima Jarjue, on behalf of his institution, thanked all those who graced the occasion.
He said that the LLINs will be presented to all health facilities, all boarding schools including Islamic boarding schools and training schools, military training academies and all institutions where people stay and sleep, with the hope of continuing the fight to reduce malaria in The Gambia.
He said that in early February and March 2011 they distributed about 700,000 nets across the country which targeted all the population of the
Mr Jarjue said CRS will also continue to provide nets to Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) facilities to ensure children less than one year and pregnant women continuing to receive the nets.
“The purpose of distributing these nets to the people is to make sure that people have access to nets and I am urging all the beneficiaries to use the donated nets,” he said, adding: “It is only when you sleep under the nets consistently for every single day or night that you will be prevented from malaria.”